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I’m the youngest of seven children. My parents always kidded about having two families. One that included my four brothers, and a second that consisted of my two sisters and I.
The earliest memories I have of my oldest brothers are after they had left home. As a child I used to spend a lot of time exploring our family’s informal archives (a filing cabinet and my father’s top dresser drawer).
I was curious of what our family was like before I came along. I remember spending hours looking at black and white family photographs. These pictures provided a visual glimpse for me to travel back in time to experience the part of my family that I had never known. This was one of my favorite activities.
Fast forward 20 years. I never really lost the interest of my childhood.
I started to realize that as a youngest child many historical family objects and memories would soon start to disappear. I decided (out of selfish reasons) to try to preserve them. My father graciously provided many photos, papers, certificate and other things. I spent a couple years attempting to create a cd-rom and printed magazines. I never seemed to be able to completely finish these projects.
Since I was a teen I have been interested in technology. In August of 2003 I decided to start “blogging” the historical things that my father provided me with. The weblog is called Family Preserves http://www.familypreserves.com/
Many other family members (including siblings, cousins, parents, aunts & uncles and distant relatives) are contributing items. Hundreds of items that I never knew of have been shared. These include many historical photos, personal histories, old letters, certificate documents, ration books, and many other “really cool” items.
The weblog format has some great features. These include the ability to search all the content, organize items by category (we are using surnames), multiple authors, web interface, comments, date & time stamps. Weblogs aren’t perfect for family history though, hence I’m now in the process of integrating the weblog (Movable Type) content with genealogy software (The Next Generation of Genealogy Site Building). Google and other search engines tends to rank weblogs well, because of this when one searches for the name of an ancestor, the results are generally at the top of the list.
I’ve attempted to keep the content digital. This means that text in a scanned image has been typed in. Although this slows down the process of adding content I believe the value of the text being indexed is well worth the time.
Integrating. the content on the site to genealogy software is the next logical step. This provides the ability to browse a family tree and find related photographs, documents and other items. This brings order and structure to all the data we are acquiring.
My next goal after completing the integration is to get interested relatives who do genealogical research to document their work on the weblog (as they would with a research log) and update the information on the website. This provide a way for researchers to know what others have found out, avoid duplication of effort, and have a always current source of information.
There are so many things that I have learned about my family’s history (over the last few years) that I couldn’t write it all. I’ve gained a new appreciation for those who I am a very real part of. My motivation to keep our family’s history alive has only increased. I’m now in the process of adding a lot more material from my wife’s family and have many more discoveries to make.
This website would be nothing without the help and contributions from many relatives and friends including Marv Roper, Amy Cook, Terry Roper, Laura Jensen, Teryl Roper, Peggy Harvey, Deloris Ramon, Christopher DeSantis, Mike and Irene Brooks, Jim Nielson, Randall Roper, Jane Jeffs and many others I’ve haven’t mentioned.
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